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Opening Arguments

Zero tolerance

"It's a strange old world" department:

There's a new argument emerging among supporters of the Ground Zero mosque. Distressed by President Obama's waffling on the issue, they're calling on former President George W. Bush to announce his support for the project, because in this case Bush understands better than Obama the connection between the war on terror and the larger question of America's relationship with Islam. It's an extraordinary change of position for commentators who long argued that Bush had done grievous harm to America's image in the Muslim world and that Obama represented a fresh start for the United States. Nevertheless, they are now seeing a different side of the former president.

"It's time for W. to weigh in," writes the New York Times' Maureen Dowd. Bush, Dowd explains, understands that "you can't have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam." Dowd finds it "odd" that Obama seems less sure on that matter. But to set things back on the right course, she says, "W. needs to get his bullhorn back out" -- a reference to Bush's famous "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!" speech at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.

And on the subject of Ground Zero, we have today the sublime:

There are those who continue to make the facile claim that any protest over Park51 is a display in un-American intolerance and contempt for the Constitution. This position treats criticism of faith -- religious institutions and symbols included -- as tantamount to "bigotry."

And the ridiculous:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said she supports an investigation into groups opposing the building of a mosque near ground zero in New York.

Pelosi told San Francisco's KCBS radio that “there is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some.”

“I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up?”


tim zank
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 5:10pm

Their attempts to goad "W" into commenting will not succeed. Nice to see Mo grasping at straws though!

As for Pelosi, can someone in power be more tone deaf than her? Well, besides Obama that is.

Lewis Allen
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 8:37pm

Interesting. For all the fears about W. being a fundamentalist, he was always careful to use language like 'the almighty', and other fairly neutral terms that were appropriate for his office, and may have been hard to do for a born-again Christian. I always respected him for that. Of course, Obama is correct in his reaffirmation of our Constitutional neutrality on religion. And I don't see his comments as 'waffling'. He was, rather, differentiating between the positive, i.e., what they CAN do, and the normative: what they SHOULD do. (they being those who would build the mosque)

Larry Morris
Wed, 08/18/2010 - 9:23pm

"Obama is correct in his reaffirmation of our Constitutional neutrality on religion". He came off as condescending bordering on the ridiculous. No one needs a lesson on the "Constitutional neutrality on religion", this is about doing something blatantly stupid or not doing something stupid. There are already thousands of Mosques in this country and their numbers increase every year, this is about placement and the intended builders know that - whether they are saying it or not.

Lewis Allen
Thu, 08/19/2010 - 5:14pm

Larry, no disrespect, but judging from some comments (not necessarily here), many do need a lesson on the constitutional neutrality on religion.

Lewis Allen
Thu, 08/19/2010 - 5:18pm

By the way, if you were in Obama's place, what would you say or do about this?

tim zank
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 9:36am

Lewis...in r/e your query "if you were in Obama

Larry Morris
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 10:35am

Thankfully, I will never be in his place and we don't have to talk about it - that's a pull way off topic and has no real relevance. I spoke to Obama's reaction and attitudes only because you brought it up in your initial post. The real point here is that this Mosque should not be built in this location. If someone asks how far away is far enough, my answer would be, how about in another country.

tim zank
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 12:48pm

Larry, I like the cut of your jib.

Lewis Allen
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 6:27pm

Tim, I think your answer is pretty good. Larry's however, is not. And it's a 'pull way off topic', indeed, it IS the topic.

Larry Morris
Fri, 08/20/2010 - 10:56pm

Lewis, the "pull way off topic" was to bait me into saying how I would have handled it and thereby start a new argument with me. Anyway, I think I've kinda already told you my opinion, ... We can all still criticize a politician without having to submit how we would have acted in his place, come on, that's just common sense. I would make a lousy President and, again, the issue isn't how I would have handled the situation, it's how HE handled it.

Sat, 08/21/2010 - 1:46am

Well, I guess the Pentagon is already screwed what with having that mosque for Muslim servicemen in it.

Not that I care about which specific imaginary invisible man in the sky people worship, but I do wonder how an entire faith is criticized over a few particularly nutty elements. Should no xtian churches be allowed near a certain site in Oklahoma?

But then, Jon Stewart managed to nail it, apologize for being wrong about NRA-Columbine, AND Charlton Heston effectively tells all the anti-mosque idiots to shut it:


tim zank
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 6:32am

Michaelk42. Sorry..apples and oranges...

Sat, 08/21/2010 - 9:27am


Apparently you didn't watch it, then.

People who actually live in NY have a message for you, as well:


"Reminder: Muslims were victims of 9/11, too. Sorry, but it's true. And one was an NYPD cadet.

"Maybe we'll care what you have to say when you stop bothering us for directions in the subway on how to get to Ground Zero so you can go there and buy some dumb, tacky knickknack you can take home and give to friends to let them know that you spent money on a shake-a-snow where a few thousand people died. Maybe then. But probably not. Shut up, go away, and also, stop lying, or at least tell your politicians to stop lying. It might help you recognize the truth, which is that you're wrong, and you're attacking vital American freedoms by going against this Mosque. The truth is that you're terrorists in your own right. You are striking against America by going against this mosque. You are, in effect, almost as bad as the ones who killed people on 9/11. Okay, not quite, not really, but kind of, because you're fighting against what 9/11 victims died for: religious freedom, which said terrorists don't have and don't want anyone else to have."

Sat, 08/21/2010 - 9:33am

(Or, "apples and oranges" claimed and not backed up, because the person in question doesn't even have a real response.)

tim zank
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 12:07pm

First of all Michael in r/e "Should no xtian churches be allowed near a certain site in Oklahoma?" Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian nut, he was an anti government nut...he did nothing in the name or cause of Christianity.

2nd, there is no mosque in the pentagon. There is a multi-denominational chapel shared by Jews, Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Episcopalians, Hindus and Muslims. The stained glass is all patriotic NOT religious.

Stewart is entertaining, but you can't really draw a valid comparison between 2 teenagers and Al Queda, or the NRA convention in Denver and Columbines proximity. It makes sense to his audience (of about 900k you included obviously) but not to the adults. It's apples and oranges.

As for the Village Voice, please. A weekly "alternative" with circulation of under 200k, mostly to the ass-less chaps demographic is not to be taken seriously at the adult table either.

Andrew J.
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 6:13pm

The Village Voice won a Pulitzer, if I remember correctly about this "alternative" publication not to be taken seriously.
If under 200k circulation is not to be taken seriously, what does that say about the NS?

Larry Morris
Sat, 08/21/2010 - 7:23pm

"because you

Sat, 08/21/2010 - 10:12pm


This isn't Saudi Arabia - and I for one won't let bigoted knuckleheads like you turn the US into the xtian flavor of it.

"The deaths of the victims of 9/11 was the result of a senseless act carried out by followers of not a religion..."

Then why are you against a particular religion having a cultural center two blocks away from the actual site?


"Timothy McVeigh was not a Christian nut, he was an anti government nut"

And the 9/11 terrorists represented anti-US government nuts who happened to be Islamic. Unless you can somehow prove Islam itself is universally anti-US, you haven't even got a point.

Oh, it's only used as a mosque part of the time. Well, that's completely different. Aren't you afraid of the Muslims that serve in our armed forces, too?

Stewart already did draw a valid comparison. 1st or 2nd amendment, it doesn't matter.

Insulting Stewart's audience only belittles yourself, Zank.

And really, you bring up audience size? The number of people who agree with something that's right matters? Even if the numbers are low and entirely inclusive of the number of people that can see what's going on, that just means there's a lot of stupid people out there.

Larry Morris
Sun, 08/22/2010 - 10:25am

Knucklehead - boy, that's good, ... I'll have to remember that, I don't think I've been called anything like that since, oh, let's see, maybe the fifth or sixth grade. I love the way you pick and choose parts of remarks to make your point. "not a religion, but a way of life", the whole quote, meant I consider it MORE than JUST a religion, that

Sun, 08/22/2010 - 8:34pm

Don't worry Larry, I could call you worse, but that's descriptive enough and I doubt Leo would appreciate anything more apt.

Oh, OK. Never mind that the statement I pointed out was the basis for your entire argument.

So since you're now saying it's "more than a religion," are you trying to NOT say that everyone who follows that religion is also out to destroy?

Is Catholicism "more than a religion" when it comes to raping children and covering it up?

"we will not turn into a Saudi Arabia here because we are ALL aware of what freedom of religion means,"

Apparently you don't.

"remember, we already have thousands of Mosques in this country. Just like the old line about the economy, it

Larry Morris
Sun, 08/22/2010 - 10:25pm

No, we're not talking about Catholicism - that'll probably be in another post some day, today we're talking about a religion or a way of life, call it what you want, that is about as far from a peaceful religion as I can see. And, no, freedom of religion is not contingent on anything, unless you count blowing people up, ... silly little things like that. Let's just say you are willing to tolerate almost anything and I am not and leave it at that - I'm sure the rest of the crowd will jump in tomorrow morning. I get way tired of arguing in circles and that seems to be the only direction you want to go,

tim zank
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 11:15am

I'm with Larry, no need to humor Michealk42's circular logic.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, guess what?

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 4:40pm

@Tim Zank

Aren't you a *realtor*? I would assume you'd know to tread carefully on this. Do your religious views here affect how you do your job?


What I find really ridiculous is Larry somehow thinking Islam has a lock on violence. There's plenty of nutcases available to choose from in any religion at any time.

We never were talking about Catholicism per se - I'm just using it as an example of how stupid Larry's Broad Brush is.

"Some Catholics rape and abuse children, therefore all Catholics are child rapists and abusers."

Makes as much sense as:

"The violent terrorists bent on destroying the US were Muslim, therefore all Muslims are are violent terrorists."

Or perhaps:

"A couple of middle-age middle-class midwestern white guys are dumb bigots, therefore all middle-age middle-class white guys are dumb bigots."

Moving on...

"And, no, freedom of religion is not contingent on anything, unless you count blowing people up,

Larry Morris
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 4:48pm

And, here I thought we had put this to bed - I'll let you have the last rant, ... anyone is free to look backward up the post chain to see what my responses really were.

tim zank
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 5:08pm

Mine as well.

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 5:22pm

Oh, it just got put to bed. That's what generally happens when you're a bigot with an indefensible position. Of *course* you two have no reply.

(Though I'm sure RE/Max is glad to have Tim quit sticking his foot in his mouth on this subject.)

Larry Morris
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 5:56pm

It's been my experience that the one who fumes wildly and yells bigot is usually the one with the indefensible position. But, what do I know, ...
Tim, too bad I'm in my retirement home, didn't know you were in real estate. Come down and visit my real estate sometime, I have lots of good targets to shoot at :-) .

tim zank
Mon, 08/23/2010 - 6:54pm

Thanks Larry.

Michaelk42, I don't know what you do for a living, but I would assume like me, your political opinions are just that and have no bearing on your "work" life. One would hope anyway. To not patronize a company because of an employees political persuasion would be bigoted, would it not?

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 10:33pm


Do I fume sir? Do I rant? Do I yell?

*Over the internet?*

What do you know, indeed? It's amazing what you can project on others so plainly.

No, I simply state that you, Larry Morris, are a bigot, and an example of the worst our country has to offer.

BTW, I thought you "put this to bed?" ;)

@Tim Zank

To not use the services of a RE/Max Realtor because he publicly derides your religion would be an informed choice.

Larry Morris
Tue, 08/24/2010 - 9:11am

I've been called worse by better, ...